Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Alright, so seeing that the experience is "over" I suppose I should write about what I have thought about the whole thing , or perhaps how I believe ehow the experience in general has affected me: the truth is, though; that I have no idea how this experience will have affected me in the long run. There is always the possibility that it has xhanged me for good, that I will carry this new_found desire to travel and experience the rest of the world and its cultures forever; and then there is the possibility that I will go home an dsoon aftere fall back into my previously comfortable life, where from day to day the limits of my comfort zone are left un-touched, and my own ideas left untested by others. I think that is one of the main changes I have undergone; that in order to understand and live in another culture you have to be willing to sacrifice the stronghold you have on your ideas of how the world is meant to work, because perhaps your way is not the only or certainly not the best way, for everyone. I think I must also say that I don't mean to claim a complete understanding of french culture, and certainly not European culture as a whole. I think that knowing I would be returning home, and that the comfortable commodities that I have grown used to in life would be awaiting me in a not-so-distant future perhaps changed my point of view; it became, perhaps, necessary to tolerate and try the new things that Paris brings with it, but not to necessarily become completely accustomed to them, since I knew it was not a permanent change. I don't know if that is a negative or positive thing. ON the one hand it may have weakened my resistence to try and experience new things; but on the other hand it may have meant that I was consistently tryin to hold on to a sense of my "american-self" and maybe that limited my cultural experience to some extent.
On another not, I think that I have learned a lot in general in Paris. I have a new appreciation for art and for architecture as well, and I think that from now on I will look at cities from a different point of view''especially those that have such a rich history. I have a new curiosity about cultures that I do not understand, because I came to Paris thinking that I already had a general understanding of French culture', some of which was true, but also much of which was incorrectly assumed. I have also learned a lot about myself. Even though I was living with a family and had the support of professors and students, I also think that this was the most independent time o my life thus far, when I could do anything and go anywhere and feel as if the world truly did hold endless oppoprtunites for experience.
Another thing I wanted to mention was the concept of beauty and how it exists in every city, but I think that it would be easy to overlook it sometimes in view of the bad things''Paris is a beautifuil city, but sometimes there arre things that can taint your view, but I think it is like that anywhere, which made me stazrt thinking about my hometown and the things that are there. It might be difficult to see the beauty of it on the surface, but having not been home in 4 months I have realized all the things about it that I truly do find beautiful--the little things that I miss about it --I think that I have developpoed a greater appreciation for things in gereneral, and perhaps I will not take things for grqnted, or be able to so easily neglect the beauty that is in life that can so easily be overlooked, simply because of the regularity of it. LIke the Eiffel Tower for example, I lived very near it in Paris and saw it about every single day, and it was true that I soon became desensitized to it, I no longer wondered at it as I had the day I arrived, and in fact (and I hate to admit) I sometimes didn't even notice it. Realizing how easy it can become to simply just not see the things that are so wonderful and right in front of your eyes has made me try to see and observe as much as I can, the good and the bad, for it is all part of it, and I hope to be able to carry with me the change and appreciation that Paris has given me. I love Paris, and I will miss iot dearly, but it has also made me appreciate my home town(s) of Michigan and the people and places and culture I have left to come her, and so I think, all things considered, I am ready to go home, but with the certain hope of coming back. After all, I may venture to say that Paris is a part of who I am now.

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